Recently landed: Imperial Mode Gracia's written response for Fjord Review
And so here we have, in Ballet Imperial, a remodelled version of a Russia that no longer exists, and it is a sumptuous meld of all the things one thinks of when one thinks of Balanchine and his choreography: pure classicism bound to modernity. Reminiscent of theatre of the silver screen, which presented as something of a dream during wartime, rationing, and the Great Depression, there is something of this pure and extravagant escapism to be seen as Adam Bull sends a gentle ripple down two threads of dancers. Orchestrated ensembles form squares, diamonds, and circles on the stage, further illustrating to me the idea that "dance is music made visible". As new formations assemble, the impression is not unlike looking through a cinematic kaleidoscope.
As Music Director and Chief Conductor, Nicolette Fraillon, and guest solo pianist Hoang Pham explained (in a pre-performance audience Q&A), Tchaikovsky’s concerto, which follows the traditionally accepted pattern of fast, slower, faster, continually changes from being a duet between pianist (in the pit) and dancer (on stage) to a quartet, quintet, sextet and so on. This sensation reiterated by Eve Lawson, Ballet Mistress with the company and repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust, who describes it as though the dancers are "singing with their bodies."